Thursday, June 14, 2018

It Is No Small Task

In the small church cooperation is essential.  Most aspects of our life together are lay-lead (how Baptist!) and require everyone's participation.  No one can really ride the pine in a small church, and here's the great news:  At Scottsville Baptist I continually see folks bending over backwards to serve God.  It is no small task to lead the small church, but together (and only together!) we do it.

Here are a few examples that come to mind today:

It is no small task to mow the church and parsonage lawns each week, but together we do it. 

It is no small task to host a Vacation Bible School for the community, but together we do it.

It is no small task to recruit nursery workers and teachers for our growing children's ministry, but together we do it.

It is no small task to paint the window sills.  It is no small task to clean out the garbage cans, replace hard-to-reach lightbulbs, and sweep up messes you didn't make, but together we do it.

We are growing and grateful, and there is nothing small about our love for God.  What a privilege to pastor Scottsville Baptist!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Shipwrecked Boat Destroys Television

I love a party theme.  Any time I can color-coordinate utensils, create table decor, and cheese-up the parsonage in general is a win.  Want an Epiphany photo booth?  I'm your lady.  How about Olympic-themed snacks?  I've got you covered.  Did you want matching airbrushed shirts on family vacation? (This is a goal for summer 2018.) 


when I offered to host a send-off for Bruce & Alessandra, I insisted on a theme.  'Sail Away' was chosen and I was a happy camper since the VBS theme is 'Shipwrecked'!  And thanks to VBS Director, Hallie, I had an anchor, palm trees, and a giant cardboard cutout of a ship with which to decorate.  Mind you this ship is wrecked--so it wasn't exactly sailing anywhere--but close enough, right?

The party came and went (fun!), but as I folded up the 'Shipwrecked' cutout I knocked my television to the ground.  The screen cracked and the television is toast.  Stick a fork in it:  It's done.  

GRRR.  I was so mad at myself.  First:  Why did I insist on a theme?  Second:  The ship was WRECKED.  There would be no sailing in this ship.  This cutout was the antithesis of the theme.  Third:  Why did I not catch the television as it plummeted to the ground?  Fourth:  Why?

Here's the culprit in all its destructive glory
Have you ever been mad at yourself?  Have you ever replayed a mistake or misstep ad infinitum?  If only I'd NOT insisted on a theme; if only I'd caught the television, if only, if only, if only...and this was an accident.  What about those times we're mad at ourselves for good reason?  What about those times we say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing?  GRRR.  I can get so mad at myself.  It can be hard to let go, to move on, to accept forgiveness. 

The Bible theme of VBS is Jesus Rescues.  Starting tonight (!) we have the privilege of teaching children that Jesus rescues us from loneliness, worries, struggles, and wrongdoing.  And perhaps I'll have the opportunity to tell the kids Jesus also rescues us from our inability to let go of our mistakes and missteps--like snapping at someone, holding a grudge, or even something small in the grand scheme (for example:  breaking a television).  I'm grateful for this privilege.

See you this evening!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Emmaus Bound (and I didn't know it)

I was up and at 'em this morning at work on a sermon, but after a few hours I needed a break.  I decided to take a walk to the church, but as a devotee of multitasking I couldn't let this be a mere walk.  Let's make this walk productive! I can pick up a commentary, listen to a ministry podcast, and maybe burn a calorie or two.  Win, win, win!

I did not bat 1000 on this sojourn.  The podcast was okay but nothing to write home about and I ended up forgetting my office key at home.  Boo!  I waved goodbye to my Anchor Bible Dictionary through the window and turned around. 

That's when I ran in to one of our church members, Clarence.

Clarence was on a walk like me, but unlike me Clarence was actually on a walk.  He was unhurried and smiling.  His arms carried tools and supplies.  Seeing Clarence brightened my day.  Together we walked and talked most of the way to the parsonage.  

Yesterday I preached on the Emmaus story, and it occurs to me now that my trek-to-get-100-things-accomplished transformed (thanks be to God!) into an Emmaus walk with a fellow disciple.  

Sometimes I miss the forest for the trees in my quest to serve.  I'm grateful God is gracious to me anyway.  Thank you God for today's grace.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Musical Pews

After a meaningful Holy Week, we celebrated the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday.  What a joyous day!  The good news was palpable.

Since my brother and sister-in-law were visiting, I was excited about the prospect of sitting with family during worship.  One of my favorite things about vacation is going to church and sitting with my family.

Most of us like sitting with our families during worship and perhaps especially so on holidays.  Oftentimes family is visiting, we're gussied up in our Easter best, and we're looking forward to fun (egg hunting! ham!) with those we love. 

Our pews filled up quickly on Sunday so it eventually became difficult to find a place to sit.  During the welcome I saw someone searching for a place to sit, but thankfully she didn't have to look for long because one of our couples hopped right out of their pew to make room.  It happened so fast I might as well call it a reflex. 

This couple's race to give up their pew reminded me of the women at the tomb racing to tell the good news.  This couple, like the women, proclaimed the gospel with their feet.  They gave up their pew AND the opportunity to sit together (the wife sat with the visitor and the husband found a seat elsewhere).

What a gift to witness this unselfish act. 

And while it may seem like a little thing, I've found "little" things rarely are little.  They almost always point to a life of faithfulness in many "little" and big ways. 

Friday, March 30, 2018

Maundy Thursday

Thanks to Scottsville Baptist's creative worship planner, Joan, a lovely altar was arranged for our Maundy Thursday service.  

It speaks volumes without saying a word.

Maundy Thursday is a needed reminder of the sacrificial love of Jesus.  We are glad to share his love; however it is much more difficult to receive it.  Remember Peter?  "Lord are you going to wash my feet?"  We echo his words so often.  Receiving requires humility.

Allowing someone to wash our feet is uncomfortable.  

It is also insanely beautiful.

We see and touch the sacrificial love of Jesus for us in this act. 

We weep, laugh, embrace, smile, and exchange words of love.  

Almost all feet are dried with the same towel--retired feet, children's feet, and I-rushed-here-from-work feet.  Some wash the feet of strangers; others wash the feet of spouses, parents, and friends.  

It is a picture of the kingdom of love inaugurated by Jesus Christ.

I am grateful. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Gift of Ash Wednesday

One of the gifts of following the church year is joining with Christians throughout the world in worship.  Together we repent, rejoice, grieve, act, contemplate, praise, and give thanks.

Today is Ash Wednesday which means millions of Christians are renewing our commitment to repentance.  What a powerful thought (!)--even more powerful if we follow through.

In worship on Sunday we talked about acknowledging our sin to God.  Confession and repentance are paramount in the life of a Christian.  We also remembered the good news:  God's love is bigger than our sin.  Thanks be to God! 

At our drop-in service today, we've read scripture, prayed, and imposed ashes.  Some of you have shared tears; others have shared hopes for renewal and growth.  I am praying for you.  Scottsville Baptist Church:  Praying with and for you is one of the great privileges of my ministry.  Thank you.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.  2 Corinthians 13:14

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Joyful Noise

This morning I'm surrounded by Psalm 100 on all sides, and I couldn't be happier!

Thanks to the gifts of folks near and far all of our Annex Building windows are being replaced!  The final phase is being completed as I type, so the noise of removal and installation is filling our building.

These are joyful noises unto the Lord (Psalm 100:1).

Our Food Pantry and Clothing Closet is open.  It has been especially busy today.  Bread, coats, and conversation are being shared.  I saw one of our volunteers sitting down with someone new to us--taking time to invite her to church and get to know her.

These are joyful noises unto the Lord (Psalm 100:1).

On Saturday we're hosting 'A Night in Bethlehem'.  We want to tell our friends and neighbors the story of Jesus!  We'll do this with a live manger scene and hot cocoa and bread-baking and iron-working stations and more.  We're so excited.  Our little town of Bethlehem is being organized as I type.

These are joyful noises unto the Lord (Psalm 100:1).

Our faithful secretary is busy about the work of copying worship folders for Sunday, answering the phone, and being the presence of Christ to all who enter the building.

These are joyful noises unto the Lord (Psalm 100:1).

These Thursday noises are filling my ears with gladness.  What a blessing.